CHECKLISTS

Timothy and Titus – Inconspicuous Leadership

1 Timothy 5 checklistI am a list maker…even in retirement from my secular work. For me, what doesn’t get listed, doesn’t get done. It is also very rewarding for me to check that item off the list when it is accomplished. The list has a progression of priorities. One task cannot happen until another task is completed. And so life goes with my lists guiding my behavior and productivity.

As I journal each morning in my conversational prayer with God, the Father, His Spirit guides me to make another list that helps me to mature and grow in Him. I am convicted of some of those “fruits of the Spirit” that I have not tended to or cultivated, have ignored or left undone. His Holy Spirit redirects my thoughts and helps me form a list of tasks that will help me improve my behavior. “Keep a close check on yourself”, writes Paul to Timothy. For me, that means to make a spiritual checklist that keeps me in close contact with the will and purpose of our Father, God and helps me to grow closer to Him.

We can do nothing of significance without God. I am convinced that He guides us to all things that are good for our growth and aid our learning about Him and how He works. Paul also gives Timothy sound advice about how to treat those whom God has called to lead with character traits with another list of how to lead. This list still applies to us today. The theme of this episode seems to be; Know God, Know Yourself, Know The Message, Know Your Audience. Our deeds, good and bad, will be evident. Be driven by God’s love in us.

1 Timothy 5, The Message

17-18 Give a bonus to leaders who do a good job, especially the ones who work hard at preaching and teaching. Scripture tells us, “Don’t muzzle a working ox” and “A worker deserves his pay.”

19 Don’t listen to a complaint against a leader that isn’t backed up by two or three responsible witnesses.

20 If anyone falls into sin, call that person on the carpet. Those who are inclined that way will know right off they can’t get by with it.

21-23 God and Jesus and angels all back me up in these instructions. Carry them out without favoritism, without taking sides. Don’t appoint people to church leadership positions too hastily. If a person is involved in some serious sins, you don’t want to become an unwitting accomplice. In any event, keep a close check on yourself. And don’t worry too much about what the critics will say. Go ahead and drink a little wine, for instance; it’s good for your digestion, good medicine for what ails you.

24-25 The sins of some people are blatant and march them right into court. The sins of others don’t show up until much later. The same with good deeds. Some you see right off, but none are hidden forever.

1 Timothy 5 check yourselfLEADERSHIP PRINCIPLE #6: Keep a Close Check on Yourself

Leadership Characteristics –

–Fully rely on God. Trust Him with all you are and all you have. We are His. All we have is His.
–Ask God “if there is anything offensive to you, cleanse me.” as the Psalmist prayed.
–Repent with a heart and mind not wanting to return to the old life.
–Look full into the face of Jesus, our Master, Lord and Savior with laser focus so we know what direction to take next.
–“Keep a close check on yourself.” Avoid, “he did it, I can, too” or “my sin is not as bad as his sin” or “everybody’s doing it” mentality.
–Ask God for wisdom, insight and understanding.
–Allow God’s transformation to continue in our lives.
–Ask God to make your lists of to BE and to DO. HE will prioritize your lists in ways you cannot imagine! Where He guides, He provides help all along the journey.
–Do all in a Spirit of love for God and others.
–Care enough to confront others with God’s love and concern for their spiritual well-being and growth.

Warning   The things on our spiritual check list can never be crossed off because we’ll be working on them our whole lives. By listing we are reminding ourselves of what we need to work on to “keep a close check” on our lives. It is only by The Atonement of Jesus Christ can we accomplish anything of eternal significance.

Dear Heavenly Father,
You have convinced me that we must do spiritual “business” with You each day to improve our being in You. Thank you for helping us on this journey. Thank you for Your Holy Spirit that points out things in our behavior that could cause us to crash…before crashing. Thank you for always being with us, guiding and directing, loving and protecting and challenging us to grow and bear Fruit. Continue to transform me. Transform your church. Transform the world through your church.
In Jesus Name, Amen

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RUNNING FOR DEAR LIFE!

Psalms – Prayers of Honesty
 
Psalm 31 run for dear lifeAs a teacher, on a playground full of equipment paid for by the citizens of the community, I would watch my first graders run for dear life playing their most favored game….TAG! Tag is a playground game that involves two or more players chasing other players in an attempt to “tag” or touch them, usually with their hands. There are many variations; most forms have no teams, scores, or equipment. Usually when a person is tagged, the tagger says, “Tag, you’re it”. TAG is just an acronym for “touch and go”. (How many of you knew that?)
 
TAG get’s a bit dangerous for the teacher, however, when students call out, “Teacher’s base!”. That’s when they all run to you, as the teacher and get close enough to touch your coat or person so they can be considered “safe” from the person trying to catch them. Imagine about thirty or so kids running for you after that call out!
 
David is playing TAG with harassers, tormentors and other enemies who are trying to drag down his reputations with gossip and other forms bullying. We get it, David. David is very honest in his prayer to God for help. “I run to you, God, I run for dear life.” God is David’s “base”, his hiding place, the place he runs to for help and justice.
 
Psalm 31, The Message
A David Psalm
 
1-2 I run to you, God; I run for dear life.
Don’t let me down!
Take me seriously this time!
Get down on my level and listen,
and please—no procrastination!
Your granite cave a hiding place,
your high cliff aerie a place of safety.
 
Psalm 31 hiding place3-5 You’re my cave to hide in,
my cliff to climb.
Be my safe leader,
be my true mountain guide.
Free me from hidden traps;
I want to hide in you.
I’ve put my life in your hands.
You won’t drop me,
you’ll never let me down.
 
6-13 I hate all this silly religion,
but you, God, I trust.
I’m leaping and singing in the circle of your love;
you saw my pain,
you disarmed my tormentors,
You didn’t leave me in their clutches
but gave me room to breathe.
Be kind to me, God—
I’m in deep, deep trouble again.
I’ve cried my eyes out;
I feel hollow inside.
My life leaks away, groan by groan;
my years fade out in sighs.
My troubles have worn me out,
turned my bones to powder.
To my enemies I’m a monster;
I’m ridiculed by the neighbors.
My friends are horrified;
they cross the street to avoid me.
They want to blot me from memory,
forget me like a corpse in a grave,
discard me like a broken dish in the trash.
The street-talk gossip has me
“criminally insane”!
Behind locked doors they plot
how to ruin me for good.
 
Psalm 31 save me14-18 Desperate, I throw myself on you:
you are my God!
Hour by hour I place my days in your hand,
safe from the hands out to get me.
Warm me, your servant, with a smile;
save me because you love me.
Don’t embarrass me by not showing up;
I’ve given you plenty of notice.
Embarrass the wicked, stand them up,
leave them stupidly shaking their heads
as they drift down to hell.
Gag those loudmouthed liars
who heckle me, your follower,
with jeers and catcalls.
 
19-22 What a stack of blessing you have piled up
for those who worship you,
Ready and waiting for all who run to you
to escape an unkind world.
You hide them safely away
from the opposition.
As you slam the door on those oily, mocking faces,
you silence the poisonous gossip.
Blessed God!
His love is the wonder of the world.
Trapped by a siege, I panicked.
“Out of sight, out of mind,” I said.
But you heard me say it,
you heard and listened.
 
23 Love God, all you saints;
God takes care of all who stay close to him,
But he pays back in full
those arrogant enough to go it alone.
 
24 Be brave. Be strong. Don’t give up.
Expect God to get here soon.
 
psalm-31-you-are-god.jpgSOMETHING TO CHEW…
 
After the honest crying out, begging and shouting to God, David humbles himself before God. Just as the shouting children on the playground, “Save me, Mrs. Callaway! You are the base”, God becomes David’s safe place, his hiding place and his place of humility. Notice, he stops asking God to come down to his level as earlier in this passage but desperately bows down to God. “Desperate, I throw myself on you: you are my God!”
 
HEART CHECK:
“What a stack of blessing you have piled up
for those who worship you,
Ready and waiting for all who run to you
to escape an unkind world.”
 
What has David learned? What do we learn?
 
Who is our “base”? Is it church, family, close friends? Who do you run to for dear life first? Why?
 
David trusts God with his life…all of it. We say we trust God with all that is in us. Do we live like we trust God with all of life?
 
Psalm 31 GodDear Heavenly Father,
I don’t want to play “touch and go” with you, I want to be be near you always. Wherever you go, I want you leading me to go with you. I only want to be where you are. I, too hate silly religions, but I trust in You. I also leap and sing with joy because of your love. I leave troubles to you. You know what is best. Continue to transform through good times and bad. The unkind world will give me it’s best shot but your my base and I’m not leaving You.
In Jesus Name, Amen
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WHERE CREDIT IS DUE

Psalms – Prayers of Honesty
 
We pulled together as a team to put on an event for students. We worked hard, in the hot sun, each day to provide rigorous activities so the attendees could enjoy learning, create friendships, and develop as caring humans. At the end of it all the commander came in to award those who worked hard. We appreciated his words until at the end of the speech he gave all the credit for the success of the program to his friends at the top, who didn’t do the actual work, only arrived on award day. How would that make you feel as sweat is pouring down your face? No so appreciated, right? It’s a good thing my motivation was not to please him but to foster learning in others in ways to please God.
 
As I read the first line of David’s prayer, I remember this one incident long ago and now wonder if that’s how God, Our Heavenly Father, feels when we boast of accomplishments that HE brought us through, helped us achieve while providing for every thing we needed to do it.
Mm. Give credit where credit is due…God and God alone!
 
Psalm 30 God is greatPsalm 30, The Message
A David Psalm
 
I give you all the credit, God—
you got me out of that mess,
you didn’t let my foes gloat.
 
2-3 God, my God, I yelled for help
and you put me together.
God, you pulled me out of the grave,
gave me another chance at life
when I was down-and-out.
 
4-5 All you saints! Sing your hearts out to God!
Thank him to his face!
He gets angry once in a while, but across
a lifetime there is only love.
The nights of crying your eyes out
give way to days of laughter.
 
6-7 When things were going great
I crowed, “I’ve got it made.
I’m God’s favorite.
He made me king of the mountain.”
Then you looked the other way
and I fell to pieces.
 
8-10 I called out to you, God;
I laid my case before you:
“Can you sell me for a profit when I’m dead?
auction me off at a cemetery yard sale?
When I’m ‘dust to dust’ my songs
and stories of you won’t sell.
So listen! and be kind!
Help me out of this!”
 
Psalm 30 joy11-12 You did it: you changed wild lament
into whirling dance;
You ripped off my black mourning band
and decked me with wildflowers.
I’m about to burst with song;
I can’t keep quiet about you.
God, my God,
I can’t thank you enough.
 
SOMETHING TO CHEW…
David knows exactly Who helps him to achieve anything of value and significance. God! Look at all the verbs in this passage: pulled me out, got me out, put me together, pulled me out of the grave, gave me another chance…”You did it, you changed lament into whirling dance.”
 
HEART CHECK:
Think of the last time you achieved something of significance…Who did you praise first? Who did you thank first? Did you receive the praise of others without mentioning the real Person who did this feat through you?
 
Psalm 30 thank you
“I’m about to burst with song;
I can’t keep quiet about you.
God, my God,
I can’t thank you enough.”
 
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for all you have done, are doing and will do in my life. It is all about You. Apart from you I can do nothing of significance. With You we can conquer the world in ways that will lead others to You. Yes, to YOU goes all the glory, honor and praise. I cannot thank you enough, either!
In Jesus Name, Amen.
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BRAVOS TO GOD!

Psalms – Prayers of Honesty

 

Sometimes you just have to stop and praise the God who made everything and everyone. He knows the storms hit, floods come, earthquakes happen, and then peace. A silent blessed peace. Restoration comes next.

I think of praises to God for his care during and after flooding in Nicaragua where friends live to help those they love find and follow Jesus. I think of praises to God when I read about how people who live in Panama City are reaching out with all they have to help others through losing stuff to live life. This next Psalm is dedicated to all of you.

Psalm 29 peace.jpg

Psalm 29, The Message
A David Psalm

1-2 Bravo, God, bravo!
Gods and all angels shout, “Encore!”
In awe before the glory,
in awe before God’s visible power.
Stand at attention!
Dress your best to honor him!

3 God thunders across the waters,
Brilliant, his voice and his face, streaming brightness—
God, across the flood waters.

4 God’s thunder tympanic,
God’s thunder symphonic.

5 God’s thunder smashes cedars,
God topples the northern cedars.

6 The mountain ranges skip like spring colts,
The high ridges jump like wild kid goats.

7-8 God’s thunder spits fire.
God thunders, the wilderness quakes;
He makes the desert of Kadesh shake.

9 God’s thunder sets the oak trees dancing
A wild dance, whirling; the pelting rain strips their branches.
We fall to our knees—we call out, “Glory!”

10 Above the floodwaters is God’s throne
from which his power flows,
from which he rules the world.

11 God makes his people strong.
God gives his people peace.

God is still with us. God will makes us strong in and through the storms of this life. God gives us peace when our eyes look to Him with praise and adoration.

I pray for peace. I pray for restoration in all ways.
In Jesus Name, Amen

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STRENGTH

Psalms – Prayers of Honesty
 
Psalm 28 hear meThere will be times in our lives when we feel God is not listening. We feel He is napping as we experience silence from Him. We pour out of hearts to Him and wonder if He is too busy to take care of us. It is human, completely human to think that way. We are very impatient as people. We have all thought these thoughts. Be honest.
 
It seems when we give up, give all to God, then get up and go about our business of life the juggernaut to our troubles breaks loose and the situation changes for the better. What was God waiting for?, we ask ourselves. Answers to our heart cries will always come in God’s best timing, in His way of providing what is best, the way He sees from above. We learn great lessons in the wait. Maybe that is part of the reason for the wait.
 
Psalm 28, The Message
A David Psalm
Don’t turn a deaf ear
when I call you, God.
If all I get from you is
deafening silence,
I’d be better off
in the Black Hole.
 
2 I’m letting you know what I need,
calling out for help
And lifting my arms
toward your inner sanctum.
 
3-4 Don’t shove me into
the same jail cell with those crooks,
With those who are
full-time employees of evil.
They talk a good line of “peace,”
then moonlight for the Devil.
 
Pay them back for what they’ve done,
for how bad they’ve been.
Pay them back for their long hours
in the Devil’s workshop;
Then cap it with a huge bonus.
 
5 Because they have no idea how God works
or what he is up to,
God will smash them to smithereens
and walk away from the ruins.
 
Psalm 28 joy and strength6-7 Blessed be God—
he heard me praying.
He proved he’s on my side;
I’ve thrown my lot in with him.
 
Now I’m jumping for joy,
and shouting and singing my thanks to him.
 
8-9 God is all strength for his people,
ample refuge for his chosen leader;
Save your people
and bless your heritage.
Care for them;
carry them like a good shepherd.
 
Psalm 28 strength mugSOMETHING TO CHEW…
As we read David’s honest prayers, he would appear to be “bi-polar” to our world’s ways of psychological problem solving and prescribe medication for him. But if you read closely, with understanding, we see David relies on God as a sounding board to talk it out, to examine the situation honestly before God, to trust God to help him with insight for the evil schemes of destruction around him and those he serves. He longs to see God’s Truth and His wisdom.
 
As David cries out and talks through it all, he gains God’s strength and focus to see problems they way God sees them. We also notice that their intimate relationship grows deeper with more intention. As we continue our reading and praying the Psalms we will see crying out followed by praises for God’s goodness and help.
 
Psalm 28 heartHEART CHECK:
We must focus on the way God brings David through his problems and learn from their intimate relationship. David was known by God as “a man after God’s own heart”. Do you think it might be because of his honesty with God?
The greatest lesson we can learn is to go to God, be honest, cry out if that makes you feel better, I have. Going to God will always bear the greatest, most loving results versus crying out to your peers over matters that they cannot and need not resolve for you. They are not God. We are not God…only God is God.
 
When did you feel God go silent for you? What did you do about it? How impatient are we as a people of God?
 
How do you pray for your enemies? Are we honest?
 
Do we talk to others first about our enemies and our problems. Is that fair to them? How can that be harmful to them and maybe their walk with God? We can talk to others as we “bear each others’ burdens” and prayer with each other for God’s help, but our raw soul bearing is for God alone for He alone is the final answer.
 
Psalm 28 its GodIt is hard to wait for God. Sometimes it is extremely hard. We are a people who like to fix things, control outcomes and help others do the same. But we cannot and should not do anything without God’s leading and only then we point them to God. God is the One and Only Who saves, heals, fixes, repairs and restores in ways we cannot imagine.
 
Wait for Him. Be still and know Him. We pray, He works. I am preaching to me this morning. God is the problem solver. He has been doing it since HE created the world. Let go. Let God. He knows. He’s listening.
 
Dear Heavenly Father,
I repent of trying to problem solve on my own. I see troubled lives and long for them to come to You for solutions. I can only point to way to you. Be our strength for today as promised. Teach me Your will. Help me in the wait times. My trust is in You who always wants the best for each of us who believe. Thank you, Lord!
In Jesus Name, Amen
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FEARLESS

Psalms – Prayers of Honesty
 
Psalm 27 laser
I love laser tag! I love the team work. I love the strategy of besting your opponents with high scores at the end of the game. The best strategy is to follow a leader, with a plan and not run willy-nilly in the dark and just hope for the best. Stick with the leader, form a battle plan, work together with eyes on the leader’s commands and then fearlessly go for it! (Yes, I’m a bit competitive…even with grandkids.)
David has a similar plan for his life. He has but one battle cry in this next praise-prayer to God, “Stay with God!” David is fearless with God. He trusts God with everything, even his very life. With all this, he still reminds God (and us) of his list of fears to overcome:
1. Vandals and bullies are out to eat me alive
2. Don’t turn your back on me now
3. Don’t turn your back on me or throw me out
4. Don’t abandon me
5. When I seek you, don’t hide from me
6. Don’t throw me to the dogs or to liars who hate me
 
So, as we begin life with God, like David, we are fearless. Then in a few hours or days, the world creeps in slowly or washes in like an overwhelming flood and our fears rise to the top of our emotions. What will we do, where will we go, how will we live through this? With God. Stay with God!
 
Psalm 27, The Message
A David Psalm
 
Psalm 27 no fearLight, space, zest—
that’s God!
So, with him on my side I’m fearless,
afraid of no one and nothing.
 
2 When vandal hordes ride down
ready to eat me alive,
Those bullies and toughs
fall flat on their faces.
 
3 When besieged,
I’m calm as a baby.
When all hell breaks loose,
I’m collected and cool.
 
4 I’m asking God for one thing,
only one thing:
To live with him in his house
my whole life long.
I’ll contemplate his beauty;
I’ll study at his feet.
 
Psalm 27 hide and find5 That’s the only quiet, secure place
in a noisy world,
The perfect getaway,
far from the buzz of traffic.
 
6 God holds me head and shoulders
above all who try to pull me down.
I’m headed for his place to offer anthems
that will raise the roof!
Already I’m singing God-songs;
I’m making music to God.
 
7-9 Listen, God, I’m calling at the top of my lungs:
“Be good to me! Answer me!”
When my heart whispered, “Seek God,”
my whole being replied,
“I’m seeking him!”
Don’t hide from me now!
 
9-10 You’ve always been right there for me;
don’t turn your back on me now.
Don’t throw me out, don’t abandon me;
you’ve always kept the door open.
My father and mother walked out and left me,
but God took me in.
 
11-12 Point me down your highway, God;
direct me along a well-lighted street;
show my enemies whose side you’re on.
Don’t throw me to the dogs,
those liars who are out to get me,
filling the air with their threats.
 
13-14 I’m sure now I’ll see God’s goodness
in the exuberant earth.
Stay with God!
Take heart. Don’t quit.
I’ll say it again:
Stay with God.
 
Psalm 27 come to me coffe cupSOMETHING TO CHEW…
What happens when we stay with God? David has the right words for us to chew on this morning. Notice that this list is much longer than our fear list.
1. With God, no one or no thing will scare me.
2. When attacked, I’m calm, collected and cool with God.
3. My greatest want is to be with God.
4. I want to live with God, wanting to where He resides.
5. I want to learn from Him, like Mary who sat at Jesus feet, hanging on every word.
6. I want to be still before God, hear His voice, reflect on his perfect beauty in all things He has created.
7. I want to hide from the world’s noise and confusion and be quiet to hear God speak.
8. God holds me up above those who hurt me.
9. He gives me songs to sing to Him at the top of my lungs.
10. When I seek Him, I find Him. He’s always been there.
11. He gives me assurance and calm, knowing I will be with Him forever and ever.
 
“Stay with God! Take heart. Don’t quit. I’ll say it again: Stay with God.”
 
Psalm 27 stick with GodHEART CHECK:
What do you fear this morning? Do you think God can take over and handle it?
 
Are sticking with God, knowing God and remembering He is on our side because of His genuine love for us?
 
Do we seek God at the first sign of trouble with the feeling of panic and fear? How can we stay calm, cool and collected?
 
Dear Heavenly Father,
We bring all our fears to you and lay them at your feet. Teach us. Transform us. Help our anxieties melt away knowing You are there and will always be there. I love giving the needs of others to you and watching you work in their lives with healing, peace, comfort and joy. With you, I am fearless. Without you…I don’t know or what to think about life without You! Thank you for Your Presence in our lives. Thank you for Your Holy Spirit who guides us. When faced with confusion or trouble, keep me calm. I love you, Lord with all that is in me and I’m sticking with You!
In Jesus Name, Amen
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EXAMINE ME, CLEAR MY NAME

Psalms – Prayers of Honesty
 
Psalm 26 accusedIt’s going to happen sooner or later in each of our lives. Someone will say something about us that is not true. Others will join in with their opinions and summations of what they think we are thinking. You are not given any recourse to even defend yourself. You begin to believe the lies about you, too. Fair? No. David had the same troubles. It’s an age old problem with humans. However, read how David thought it through…with God.
 
Psalm 26, The Message
A David Psalm
 
Clear my name, God;
I’ve kept an honest shop.
I’ve thrown in my lot with you, God, and
I’m not budging.
 
2 Examine me, God, from head to foot,
order your battery of tests.
Make sure I’m fit
inside and out
 
3 So I never lose
sight of your love,
But keep in step with you,
never missing a beat.
 
4-5 I don’t hang out with tricksters,
I don’t pal around with thugs;
I hate that pack of gangsters,
I don’t deal with double-dealers.
 
6-7 I scrub my hands with purest soap,
then join hands with the others in the great circle,
dancing around your altar, God,
Singing God-songs at the top of my lungs,
telling God-stories.
 
Psalm 26 house of God8-10 God, I love living with you;
your house glows with your glory.
When it’s time for spring cleaning,
don’t sweep me out with the quacks and crooks,
Men with bags of dirty tricks,
women with purses stuffed with bribe-money.
 
11-12 You know I’ve been aboveboard with you;
now be aboveboard with me.
I’m on the level with you, God;
I bless you every chance I get.
 
 
SOMETHING TO CHEW…
 
Psalm 26 examine meLet’s take a look at how and when this happens. It happens to me when I’m trying the hardest to keep in step with God and His will for my life. It happens when good results are happening or about to happen in the work God gave me to do. It happens when sweat from all the hard work trickles down my face and back. It happens at the pinnacle of ministry. Fair? No. But that’s life here. (And Jesus said it wouldn’t be easy and promised trouble.)
 
Life is not fair. But God is. It is HIS plan to set things right in His time and in His way. If you really want to know how bullies began their work, take a look at the first fall of Adam and Eve. (Genesis) The evil one (who trains the willing and weak into bullies of humans), who is desperate to take God’s place in God’s creation, wants us to fail, to fall back, to give in and follow him instead of keeping in step with the Savior. This is a battle we face each day. Without God you will be defeated. With God you will have the power who created the universe to set things right.
 
HEART CHECK:
 
Psalm 26 praying
David knows God well. His heart beats with God’s heart. David asks God to “clear his name” but he also asks God to examine him “from head to foot” to make sure he is fit for God’s Kingdom life. We must do the same for in the war with evil, we might and probably will, get dirty ourselves and need a Holy Spirit cleansing by the repentance of our own sins. (“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” Romans)
 
When was the last time you asked God to truly examine your heart from head to foot? This might be better than the yearly physical exams we put ourselves through! What do you think?
 
Psalm 26 themOur inclination is to fight back or make excuses. The best way to fight, as you have probably heard is to fall down on our knees before God and ask for His forgiveness and then His help so we can “keep in step, never missing a beat” with God as our guide. THIS is what our enemy hates most…Believers on their knees, crying out in the Name of Jesus Christ for God’s help to defeat the enemy. The enemy flees at the sound of this battle cry to God. Our enemy knows he is no match for the Creator, Our Father in Heaven, the One and Only God.
 
How long has it been since we fell on our knees to humble ourselves before God and ask for His forgiveness and help?
 
Do our prayers get hung up in our busyness and become just words on the go from place to place? (Guilty here.)
 
Do I believe God will answer prayers said on my knees in the Name of Jesus Christ?
 
After the exam, David’s joy is restored, his spirit renewed. “I scrub my hands with purest soap, then join hands with the others in the great circle, dancing around your altar, God, singing God’-songs at the top of my lungs, telling God-stories.” THIS is church, my friends.
 
Will I accept and follow the answers that I am given by God or fight for my own way to solve problems and bring resolution to certain situations?
 
Psalm 26 singingFinally, brothers and sisters…Go to church! I know she’s not perfect but God’s forgiveness is perfect. We need each other to remind us of God’s forgiveness, love, mercy and grace. We need to ask God often to examine our hearts. AND we can expect forgiveness because of Jesus’ work on the cross. We can expect joy and a renewed Spirit. After looking to God first, now look left and right at others who were broken, seeking the same and now set free, too. Rejoice, sing God-songs, together, to the top of your lungs, too. Tell God-stories of your life. LISTEN to others tell God-stories of their lives.
 
Encourage each other. Lift each other up, don’t tear each other down. Don’t gossip. Gossip is the destroyer of most church groups. Let God’s house glow with HIS glory because of HIS Presence in His church who listens to Him and desires to keep in step with Him.
 
Can I get an amen?
 
Dear Heavenly Father,
Examine me. Transform my heart, mind and soul. All I am is yours. Do what you must but be gentle and merciful. I rejoice in knowing and following You…and You alone.
In Jesus Name, deliver me. Amen. I believe.
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SHOW ME, SCHOOL ME!

Psalms – Prayers of Honesty
 
“If weren’t for bad luck, I have no luck at all.
Gloom, despair and agony on me…”
 
Psalm 25 gloomWe all get down in the dumps from time to time. We might not sing the song that was humorously sung on the old country show, Hee Haw, but our insides feel like it. We sulk and soak in our despair until physical aches and pain appear. “When it rains, it pours”…was the phrase my mom used to say when bad things happened to us all at once.
 
Where do we go and what do we do in times like these? Better question…WHO do we turn to when it’s pouring a flood of unfortunate incidents in our lives? David has the answer and explains the greatness of God who never leaves us in our run of “bad luck”.
 
Psalm 25, The Message
A David Psalm
 
1-2 My head is high, God, held high;
I’m looking to you, God;
No hangdog skulking for me.
 
3 I’ve thrown in my lot with you;
You won’t embarrass me, will you?
Or let my enemies get the best of me?
 
Don’t embarrass any of us
Who went out on a limb for you.
It’s the traitors who should be humiliated.
 
Psalm 25 best4 Show me how you work, God;
School me in your ways.
 
5 Take me by the hand;
Lead me down the path of truth.
You are my Savior, aren’t you?
 
6 Mark the milestones of your mercy and love, God;
Rebuild the ancient landmarks!
 
7 Forget that I sowed wild oats;
Mark me with your sign of love.
Plan only the best for me, God!
 
8 God is fair and just;
He corrects the misdirected,
Sends them in the right direction.
 
9 He gives the rejects his hand,
And leads them step-by-step.
 
Psalm 25, teach me.jpg10 From now on every road you travel
Will take you to God.
Follow the Covenant signs;
Read the charted directions.
 
11 Keep up your reputation, God;
Forgive my bad life;
It’s been a very bad life.
 
12 My question: What are God-worshipers like?
Your answer: Arrows aimed at God’s bull’s-eye.
 
13 They settle down in a promising place;
Their kids inherit a prosperous farm.
 
14 God-friendship is for God-worshipers;
They are the ones he confides in.
 
15 If I keep my eyes on God,
I won’t trip over my own feet.
 
16 Look at me and help me!
I’m all alone and in big trouble.
 
17 My heart and kidneys are fighting each other;
Call a truce to this civil war.
 
18 Take a hard look at my life of hard labor,
Then lift this ton of sin.
 
19 Do you see how many people
Have it in for me?
How viciously they hate me?
 
20 Keep watch over me and keep me out of trouble;
Don’t let me down when I run to you.
 
21 Use all your skill to put me together;
I wait to see your finished product.
 
22 God, give your people a break
From this run of bad luck.
 
SOMETHING TO CHEW…
 
David learns early on in his life that “bad luck” is used to learn important life lessons. “Show me how you work, God; School me in your ways.” This should be our heart cry every time we are challenged with the stuff of life.
 
“Take me by the hand, lead me down the path of Truth.” When we are neck deep in problems we might not see God’s Truth until we look up and focus on Him and ask for help in seeing what is true versus what is Satan’s scheme to use this life situation to bring us down farther. Sometimes we win, sometimes we learn. God teaches us rich lessons when things don’t go as planned. When we think we have lost, we actually gain from God’s way of schooling us and showing us the right direction to walk or run.
 
Psalm 25 keep meHEART CHECK:
 
“You are my Savior, aren’t you?” It’s okay to honest before God in the middle of trouble. His Holy Spirit will comfort, challenge, assure and guide us to His Truth.
 
What situation is going on in your life that needs the work of God to solve? Are you ready to let Him school you?
 
David repents of past sin knowing God is fair and just. When we are struggling with a difficult circumstance we need to look inside first, then repent of anything that might be holding us back from God’s resolution. Yes, He is fair and just, but He begins when we repent of our part. “He corrects the misdirected, sends them in the right direction.”
 
Stop, look inside. Is there anything that you are holding onto that needs to be let go of in God’s view of purity?
 
After repentance, like David, “Follow the Covenant signs, read the charted directions.” God will indeed show you His ways. Let us throw open the gates of our hearts and minds and let Him have his way in us.
 
“God-friendship is for God-worshipers; They are the ones he confides in. If I keep my eyes on God, I wont’ trip over my own feet.”
 
Do you feel like you are “friends” with God? We can be! This is an amazing thought, isn’t it?
 
This is another amazing thought: We are not finished yet. The paint is still wet. We are still being “schooled” until we meet Jesus.
 
Our prayer..
“Use all your skill to put me together; I wait to see your finished product.”
In Jesus Name, Amen
 
Reminds me of an older than me hymn that is better than the song we began with today.
And I’m singing…
 
Would you live for Jesus, and be always pure and good?
Would you walk with Him within the narrow road?
Would you have Him bear your burden, carry all your load?
Let Him have His way with thee.
 
His pow’r can make you what you ought to be;
His blood can cleanse your heart and make you free;
His love can fill your soul, and you will see
’Twas best for Him to have His way with thee.
 
Would you have Him make you free, and follow at His call?
Would you know the peace that comes by giving all?
Would you have Him save you, so that you need never fall?
 
Let Him have His way with thee.
Would you in His kingdom find a place of constant rest?
Would you prove Him true in providential test?
Would you in His service labor always at your best?
Let Him have His way with thee.
 
(Let Him Have His Way with Thee
Cyrus S. Nusbaum, 1898)
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